The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in December increased by 0.51 percent against the previous month, contributing to a year-on-year rise of 6.04 percent, the lowest rate recorded for a decade.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), the housing and construction materials group experienced the highest month-on-month hike, amounting to 2.31 percent.

The price of garments and textiles, headwear and footwear edged up 0.57 percent; food and restaurant services, 0.49 percent; beverages and tobacco, 0.27 percent; and household utensils, 0.25 percent.

Meanwhile, the cost of transport, post and telecommunications services fell by 0.23 percent and 0.01 percent respectively.

Nguyen Duc Thang, head of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department, attributed the increase to higher purchasing power during the final months of the year to prepare for the upcoming Lunar New Year festival, the biggest festive time in the year, plus the cold weather in the northern region that pushed up the price of heaters.

Since December 1, 2013, the price of gas climbed to the highest level this year, resulting in a month-on-month jump of 11.99 percent. The cost of petrol, and electricity edged up 2.18 percent and 10 percent.

The GSO also laid stress on producer price indexes (PPI) of agro-forestry and fishery products in 2013 that increased by 0.57 percent. The PPI of industrial products also posted a rise of 5.25 percent.

Nguyen Bich Lam, head of the GSO, said the lowest rate in the past decade is thanks to the Government’s prompt policy management as well as efforts made by branches and agencies.

The official forecasts that the CPI in January 2014 will see a bigger jump due to high demands for commodities during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

The GSO forecasts that the CPI will edge up only 7 percent next year, he said.

According to the office, the gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 5.42 percent compared with the previous year, but was lower than the projected figure.

The industrial production index edged up 5.9 percent against the previous year with significant contributions made by garments and textiles, and manufacturing of electrical appliances and vehicles.

Last year, the country granted new investment licences worth 21.6 billion USD, up 54.5 percent over the previous year.-VNA